Verizon launching 4G wireless network on Sunday

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The Independent Tech

US telecom titan Verizon will launch a new generation wireless network on Sunday that delivers data as much as 10 times faster than 3G technology currently used by smartphones.

The "4G LTE" network debuting in 38 major metropolitan areas and at more than 60 airports will be aimed at business "road warriors" who want super speedy connections for laptop computers, according to Verizon.

"This next-generation network will provide speeds significantly faster than existing wireless networks," Verizon spokeswoman Debra Lewis told AFP.

"Downloading a video that takes 10 minutes now will take one minute on a 4G network."

Verizon worked with South Korean electronics firms LG and Pantech to design USB modems people can plug into laptop computers to connect to the LTE network.

The devices will be priced at 150 dollars each, with 50-dollar rebates available if people sign two-year service contracts with Verizon.

Data plan options will be to pay 50 dollars per month for a five-gigabyte allowance of data monthly or 80 dollars each month for 10 gigabytes of data, with users paying 10 dollars per gigabyte for overages.

The modems switch to 3G coverage in places where the LTE network isn't available, according to Verizon.

"Our 4G LTE launch gives customers access to the fastest and most advanced mobile network in America and immediately reaches more than one-third of all Americans right where they live," said Verizon chief executive Dan Mead.

"That's just the start. We will quickly expand 4G LTE, and by 2013 will reach the existing Verizon Wireless 3G coverage area."

Verizon expected smartphones synched to the 4G, short for "fourth generation," network to be available by the middle of next year.

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